While there is still no certainty around Brexit and how things will unfold, as things stand the UK is due to leave the EU in less than 30 days with or without a deal.
With the deadline fast approaching businesses must take steps now if they have not already done so to consider how they will be affected and to manage any risks identified. This will ensure your business is in the strongest position to adapt quickly and thrive post Brexit in any outcome.
With this in mind we have outlined some of the steps your business can take to prepare for Brexit;
If your business currently employs EU, EEA or Swiss citizens, they will need to apply for settled status to remain legally resident in the UK post Brexit.
Businesses should carry out a review of staff and work to support affected employees to help boost staff retention and motivation.
Even if your business does not currently employ any EU, EEA or Swiss employees you may wish to consider the impact on any UK workers you employ who may be required to temporarily work in the EU or how Brexit will impact the wider labour market going forward.
Cross Border Movement
If your business imports or exports goods to the EU you may need to take steps to minimise potential disruption to your business.
If you are moving goods to or from the EU post Brexit your business will require an EORI Number. It may be worthwhile taking the steps to secure this now to avoid any potential costly delays post Brexit. Businesses will not require an EORI number for the movement of goods between Northern Ireland & Ireland.
Businesses importing and exporting to the EU post Brexit may also have to comply with customs regulations. Consider how your business would cope with the additional burden of customs compliance and how potential tariffs could impact your business model. The Government have introduced training grants to help with the cost of training employees internally to complete customs declarations your business may be able to avail of.
Businesses should also review their current supply to assess the impact of Brexit. You may wish to speak to your current suppliers to discuss what steps they have taken to prepare for Brexit. Even if your business doesn’t have any EU based suppliers you could still be affected if your UK based suppliers are sourcing goods from the EU. With this in mind, businesses should consider the effect of potential delays at border crossings on supply timeframes and may want to consider stockpiling materials or goods in the short term to avoid the impact of potential delays.
Your business may benefit from reviewing existing supplier/customer contracts to assess whether they need to be renegotiated to address potential Brexit risks.
If your business model involves travel from Northern Ireland to EU countries you will also need to ensure drivers carry a green card for proof of insurance. To get a green card contact your insurance provider.
It is possible Sterling will depreciate further in value post Brexit, therefore your business may need to assess the impact of currency volatility if you are trading cross border and take steps to mitigate this.
While the above areas represent a useful basis for Brexit planning they should not be considered to deal exhaustively with all matters. We would advise businesses to carry out a detailed analysis of the impact of Brexit tailored to your business. If you are needing assistance to navigate through Brexit there are various funding bodies offering financial support and professional advice such as Intertrade Ireland.